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Transfer station looks at rates
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BRODHEAD - The Green County Solid Waste Management Board is looking at different payment options for municipality member rates.

The board considered the rates at its meeting Thursday but decided more time was needed to establish numbers.

Landfill Manager Randy Thompson said the facility was looking to set the tonnage rate for members as usual. Members currently pay $45 per ton of garbage brought to the transfer station, which serves as a local dumping point for refuse from throughout the county before it is transported to the Janesville landfill. If the facility has gains for the month, the transfer station credits municipalities that have contributed to its use.

However, the method has not been adequate. Board chairperson Richard Vogel and Thompson said the group could instead bank any gains, to be used when the facility has losses.

Vogel said the goal is to be able to tell members to set their budgets for even numbers throughout the year so that smaller municipalities are not struggling to pay for the transfer station's services following a month of losses.

Since the summer months, the transfer station has been maintaining well.

"We've been doing really good," Vogel said.

Thompson said Revolution Plastics, which uses the facility for agricultural plastic it collects throughout southern Wisconsin, has brought in a monthly average of $1,440. Vogel pointed out that because Revolution Plastics has been working to operate independently of the transfer station, those numbers are not a guarantee for much longer, although they could be if the group continues to find no other outlet for its business.

Vogel said the transfer station would operate as intended if Monroe, the biggest municipality in the county, would return as a member. Currently, the facility covers the amount Monroe would be paying if the city had not ended its contract with the facility last year. Those funds are taken out of the facility's contingency fund.

"It would be better, long-term, to have Monroe as a member," Vogel said.

He said he was unsure whether the transfer station could keep their gates open without the city as a member.

Board member Harvey Mandel said he is not confident in Monroe officials ever choosing to return.

After three years of discussion, Monroe terminated its contract with the transfer station in January 2015. All contract negotiations ended that August, and in autumn, the city decided to begin hauling its solid waste directly to Janesville.

At the time, it was on a trial basis. The city still uses this method, although it has met with Advanced Disposal of Monroe to discuss a contract between the two entities.

On Dec. 1, the transfer station said it would no longer accept any non-member trash as it had been allowing. Monroe residents were left with nowhere to take bulky loads of trash, such as roofing or construction refuse, except to utilize the city services, which Thompson criticized as inadequate when the board made the choice to reverse its decision and allow non-members to use the transfer station for $60 per ton.

"And I'll be honest with you, I haven't had anyone from Monroe complain," Thompson said.

Members of the board voted in favor of increasing the non-member rate to $65 per ton.

Discussion of other rates continued. At $50 per ton, Thompson said "you'd price yourself out" because Madison facilities take solid waste for the same price.

Mandel asked whether the facility should slightly increase their rates to $48 per ton. Vogel reiterated that the goal was to stabilize rates for members. The group agreed to discuss further options with legal counsel, hold a meeting with members on whether the plan would be acceptable and meet again in January to finalize the transfer station rates.